To all those who believe Shaq could have returned a long time ago if he wanted to, I offer you this: Shaq received a cortisone shot in his right foot on Tuesday, and is back in a walking boot. He could still return next week, reports Chris Forsberg, although that’s what the team has maintained for the past month. (ESPN Boston)
O’Neal traveled with the team on a recently completed three-game road trip with the goal of participating in walkthrough activities as he ramped up toward game action. But the foot that has been prone to flare-ups did so again, forcing the team to aggressively attack with the injection.
A source told ESPN Boston on Wednesday that O’Neal would hopefully be back on the floor by April 1, allowing him two weeks before the end of the regular season to shake rust and get acclimated with his teammates again.
No, Shaq’s not healthy. No, he’s not just resting his 39-year old body for the playoffs. No, he’s not just chilling at home, waiting until games mean something. He’s dealing with a real foot injury, one which hasn’t gotten much (any?) better after all his time off.
I’m starting to think Jermaine O’Neal will return before Shaq does. And I promise, I never thought I’d write the previous sentence. Now, we must ask ourselves: How much can the Celtics reasonably expect out of the two injured O’Neals? And can they win a title if neither of them operate anywhere near full strength?